T-64BM "Bulat" (tank) - the recent modernization of T-64


2020-05-22 01:00:27




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The History of Soviet tank development is replete with cases when the machine, released a few decades ago, still continue to be quite relevant on the modern battlefield. Not without upgrading, of course. One of these examples is “Bulat”. This tank is manufactured by the Kharkiv plant, and represents a modernization of old machines, the T-64A.


Bulat tankIt Should be noted that this tank was one of the most promising developments of Soviet industry. The history of its establishment originates from the 60-ies in KB of the city of Kharkov. From the middle of the same 60 years, it is sent to the pipeline, where the new machine begin to mass produce along with the tanks T-64, T-62 and T-55. The official adoption took place in 1969, and in the first place they completed the elite Panzer divisions, located on the Western outskirts of the country.

History of the T-64A

It is fair to say that initially the idea of having such machines arose from the designers in the distant 1946. At this point they gave work began on the creation of a fundamentally different diesel engine (with whom the Soviet Union has always been trouble). Soon famous in the narrow circles of KB No. 75 has completed its creation. Almost immediately, work began on the tank, which has long bore the code name “Object 430”.

Post-Soviet history

“Shestidesyatniki” started to be issued on the Malyshev plant since 1963 (the Kharkov tank factory). The issue lasted a quarter of a century, and during this time the conveyor had to pull about 5.5 thousand of these machines, which were advanced for their time.


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Immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union Kharkov tank factory was quick to seize an independent Ukraine (with all appliances already paid). It is not surprising that “foreign” T-64 quickly ceased to interest the Ministry of Defence, and therefore remaining on the territory of Russian tanks quickly "reclassified" in the learning of the machine on which the students worked through the most unimaginable exercise, simply spending their resource.

Ukrainian tanksRelatively recently (in 2011) was issued official orders to send all the remaining tanks at the facility. If we talk about current Affairs, this small detail rendered a good service: the current Ukrainian authorities can't accuse Russia of supplying these tanks to the Donbass. Officially we have not.

Since the whole base of the project was in the hands of specialists from the Ukraine, they decided to end not to ruin the enterprise. It was decided to begin modernization of old equipment with the installation of relatively new weapons, observation devices and others. Under the brand of T-64E machine currently active (though small amounts) is delivered to States like South Sudan and Somalia, who have simply no money for a normal, modern armored vehicles.

So where did the same “Bulat”? Tank is a further development of this old line.

Modernization of T-64E

It Soon became clear that the domestic forces of Ukraine urgently need normal tanks. The situation was a stalemate: like Kharkiv was the pearl of the entire tank production of the USSR, that's just all the decent cars were been sold, and “canned” T-80 and T-72 were sometimes just the body. In short, we need a new, "Ukrainian" tanks.

Of Course, great hopes were pinned on the semi-mythical (for Ukrainians) "Stronghold" that's just the APU of these tanks are still more than a dozen, and their cost is such that to rely on further saturation of “independent” of the troops of this technique pointless. But these machines are encouraging owners of oil budgets in the UAE, where they respond very positively.

The solution was found relatively quickly. The warehouses remained for a bunch of useless T-64. Had only “screwed” to them the new engine 5ТДФЕ, whose power is very decent 900 HP oddly enough, but all the work of the Ukrainians was carried out in secrecy, a new tank no one could see. Only a couple of years ago, he began to actively advertise in the press, he had “glow” even at the prestigious arms exhibition in the UAE.

the crewIn principle, the tank was first shown to the public in 1999, only (active rumors) it was the layout in a very sad stage of readiness, the machine did not wait for the Ukrainian army. Tank troops of that state at that time was formed exclusively from inventory of T-72 and T-80U.

What has changed in the tank?

It Should be noted that the results really are visible even to the naked eye. Tank no longer looks like a relic of the Second World war, he became similar to the modern fighting machine. The body of the tank is evenly distributed dynamic protection, the frontal part looks powerful and reliable. Let's consider the main innovations are:

  • Side of the machine are closed by blocks protection “Knife 2”. For better coverage of the surface they are made of square and rectangular.
  • Two types of “dynamics” - “Knife 2” and “Contact-1" - rationally distributed on the surface of the armor assembled for a simple and cheap "lattice" of the scheme. The main advantage of this method of installation is verylight weight armor protection of the machine.
  • Constructive component of the tower is also radically changed, which is especially visible in the lateral projection. The Ukrainian side does not apply about this moment, but experts suggest that the tower has extra compartment for ammunition.

So what else is characterized by the tank, which was created “Bulat”? Tank, as we have said, equipped with much more sophisticated instruments of observation. So, for the first time in the tanks of this class were panoramic sight with thermal imager, which greatly increases the chances of survival in a battle tank.

As the place to install it selected really good, it's safe to say that the upgrade was performed thoughtfully. In General, all Ukrainian tanks differ a good idea, but the implementation of the projects often suffer. Usually this is due to the low quality of the used steel armour and the lack of experienced specialists of the old Soviet school.

Main armament

Kharkov armored plantThe Main armament is a tank gun caliber 125 mm. in addition, the machine mounts two mounts: they consist of aircraft automatic cannon GSH-23 (caliber 30 mm), machine gun NSVT caliber 12.7 mm, and automatic mounted grenade launcher AG-17.

These units are extremely effective in urban environments, where conventional Soviet tanks traditionally are large losses from antitank weapons. In addition, they are extremely effective against light armored vehicles of the enemy, allowing not to spend the main munition.

In General, the work was actually carried out is impressive. But it – has not yet “Bulat”. Tank, which bears this name, is a further development and processing just described modification of the old machine. So, we finally begin to describe the immediate “hero” of our article.

So what is ‘Bulat”?

So, the new Ukrainian tank is a “profound rethinking" of the machines of the T-64A and T-64B (and other modifications). The purpose of modernization was to close a new car to the level of T-80UD, the T-84U. As we have mentioned above, "first appearance” have occurred in 1999.

The upgrade was limited to the in-depth work in three areas:

  • A Significant increase in mobility (new power unit).
  • Enhanced protection, including from more modern anti-tank complexes.
  • Increase the firepower and combat power through the installation of new weapons systems.

Power plant

It is Logical that for increasing mobility in the engine room is installed a brand new diesel engine. As in the case of the predecessor in this role was chosen as the motor 5TDFM, with a capacity of 850 horsepower. In principle, a further development of fairly old diesel 5TDF, which worked engineers.

In the old engine compartment to fit the new 5TDFM, required not only to completely replace old and inefficient air cleaner, but also to rework the exhaust system, which also did not meet any modern requirements. Ukrainian tank "damask" (again, created on the basis of the old T-64) did not spoil the road as monstrous as its predecessor, in Kharkov, has developed a special lining on the tracks, intended for movement on public roads.

In any case, an asphalt highway, after the movement of the column of cars which are equipped with devices that will not turn into a tank testing ground. The advantage of this scheme is in the fact that some additional modifications of the caterpillar is not required. The rubber pads and fasteners factory (seemingly) separately supplying, at the request of the customer.

Generally, the Ukrainian tanks “Bulat” and “Bulwark" throughout its operation actively accompanied by a manufacturer that is some respect.

Protection against anti-tank

anchovy landfillIncrease the level of protection is achieved through the installation of new systems of dynamic protection on the tower, the sides and rear of the tank. The manufacturer reports that he was able to improve the durability of armor to action cumulative ammunition (AFB), as well as piercing armor-piercing projectiles (BPS). While the emphasis is on the fact that the mass of the tank increased insignificantly.

Protection Kit consists of two separate modules: invoice passive armor and built-in dynamic protection. External dynamic protection presents a head module and screens, which are mounted around the perimeter of the hull. On the roof of the tower and in some inaccessible places of assembled modular sections that can be quickly changed in case of their failure. Elements built-in dynamic protection increase the resistance of equipment to anti-drugs even more.

The Total weight of the complete set of dynamic protection (along with the fasteners) is about 3.5 tons. Only one tank crew, and their own, will be able to perform the installation in about 5,5-6 hours. Built-in dynamic protection, which is already installed on the tank manufacturer, not require some additional care in use. Thus, protection of the Kharkov manufacturers is good that for herinstallation and operation do not need complex tools and highly skilled specialists.

tank gunBut that's not all. Why, as a rule, killed the crew with his defeat anti-tank weapons, which (most likely) uses of the enemy infantry? From fire and high temperature. To protect people and increase their chances of survival, the Ukrainian tank builders has provided automatic fire-extinguishing system, the response time which (after some engineering modifications) was reduced to 150 MS.


So what is the T-64 "damask"? How to declare themselves Ukrainian producers (not suffering from an excess of humility), he “nearly identical Russian tank T-90” and “comparable in performance to the latest "hold"”.

Yes, the machine has good prospects in the field of further modernization, particularly in improving the power plant by mounting the engine 6TD-1 or 6TD-2. Can greatly improve the iron sights, put a fundamentally different SLAs, navigation and communication. In addition, the resource of the machine after the upgrade close to 11 thousand kilometers (like a new tank).

If set aside pathos, all is not so rosy. Yeah, its characteristics are the modernized T-64 really can compare to T-72 early series. That's just how it can “beat” is fundamentally different T-90 new modification of T-72, it is not entirely clear.

In principle, it does have positive qualities. So, in the manufacture of rollers and other parts of the chassis of tank T-72 used more than a ton of non-ferrous metals, while for the T-64 have no more than 200 pounds. Accordingly, this fact drastically reduces the cost of combat vehicles, but the reliability “khodovki” suffering.

The Only thing the T-64 is better is the maintainability of the chassis. And then, for the last from the experts many questions (again think of the non-ferrous metals). The fact that in the GDR (where were most of these tanks) of technicians have been numerous claims for wear parts of caterpillars and wreaths. The T-64 is very often flew the track, and often this was accompanied by severe injuries and disabilities for people who were near the tank.

And certainly “unusual” look the statements of the Ukrainians that their “best modern tank” almost superior to the English “Challenger" and German "Leopard 2" - which looks especially ridiculous in light of the fact that the English car was objectively recognized as the best tank during NATO operations in Iraq. It would be superfluous to say that “Bulat” had to war only in the Donbass, and the network is already full of photos of wrecked and burnt-out Ukrainian vehicles. What is he so good?

Apparently, its cheapness: the cost of upgrading an old T-64 (according to two-three years ago) is about 400 thousand dollars, while to produce one “Hold” should be at least 1.5 million.

Parsing of the disadvantages

The network today is the number of “songs”, dedicated to the “new” the tank that I would like to have a moment of objectivity, talking about his shortcomings.

First, the weight and engine power. “Bulat” weighs in at 45 tons with the engine power of 850 l/s. “Outdated and inefficient Russian tank T-72” has a weight of 44.5 tons and the engine, whose capacity is 1000 l/s. what kind Of a "higher mobility" (brochures Kharkov plant) here in General can be a speech? On the T-72, if necessary, you can hang a couple more tons of armor, while the T-64 for this purpose will have to change the engine.

army tank troopsAnd here ‘tricky”. In “hairy” the 70-ies there were attempts of further development of the T-64 by installing it on the engine at 1000 l/S. the Problem was that running the old machines could not withstand such tests, starting to literally fall apart on the go. Because of this, by 1987 the Soviet leadership finally refused any further development T-64.

A Gun. Tank "damask" feature which we are considering, equipped with a model KBA3 (normal 2A46M-1). The manufacturer States that it “much better guns T-72 and T-90”. I wonder what is better? Russian tanks installed gun 2А24М-4/M-5, which gives 17% less dispersion when firing on the move and ensures an improvement of 15-20% accuracy (just the same in comparison with the old 2A46M-1). A paradox, not otherwise.

As for the actual firing range, then this is all the more interesting. If to judge according to official Soviet data, the gun "Ukrainian" provides a real range target 1.5 km (which for those times was the norm). Have “Tagil'tsev” this value is 2.3 to 2.5 km. And where the “improvement”? Again it is unclear.

As for the passive and reactive armor, the story is generally vague. No one (!) full State tests "Bulat” with all that “underweight” did not pass. All the data – Kharkiv exclusively from official sources. Surely all the same arguments are guided by and international customers: they are interested in T-72, T-80, T-90 and the same "Stronghold", but for some reason they are completely uninteresting “Bulat”.

Based on the foregoing, we can draw a simple conclusion.Kharkiv modification definitely improves the quality characteristics of old T-64, but a superweapon it just do not turns. Modernization sturdy enough, meets the needs of the modern Ukrainian army, which is not covered by normal funding. But miracles do not happen: the car from 60-ies, even with a new engine and reactive armor, modern tanks are not equal.

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